Let’s just totally ignore the High Court’s ruling shall we?

A decision to clear Cameron Slater of Privacy Act breaches could result in all bloggers being exempt from the legislation, the Director of Human Rights Proceedings says.

The director’s lawyer, Simon Judd, told the Human Rights Review Tribunal today there was nothing to distinguish Mr Slater from any other blogger who expressed their opinions on the internet.


Nothing? Really? How about a High Court ruling that he is a journalist?

A court’s recognition of WhaleOil blogger Cameron Slater as a journalist reflects the changing media landscape, the Newspaper Publishers’ Association (NPA) says.

Slater has won a High Court nod that he is a journalist and that his blog is a news medium


That is a pretty strong distinction don’t you think?

 But Mr Judd told the tribunal the case could set a precedent and result in every blogger being exempt from the Privacy Act if the charge was not upheld.


Comparing every Blogger to the Blogger who started the most popular Blog in New Zealand is like comparing the kid who plays Rugby with the Captain of the All Blacks. There is no comparison. Yes they both play rugby but one is recognised as being in a totally different league.

He told the tribunal that Mr Slater had failed to provide any evidence about whether he was in the business of news


Oh, so a High court ruling isn’t evidence then, got it. It sounds bizarre but that is what Cam had to put up with yesterday all day. He had to listen to circular arguments about how a High Court judge, Asher J, and his eminent media expert and amicus curiae Julian Miles QC, (a man who entered the bar before Mr Judd was even born) somehow got their thinking wrong and that the Director of Human Rights Proceedings is right and the superior court was wrong.

Worse than that it appears that Simon Judd didn’t even read the judgment because the exact same arguments were put forward by the respondent’s lawyer at the time, Matt Karam. An argument that both Miles and Asher J. discredited and ruled against.

The sad thing about all this is that the Director of Human Rights Proceedings wants to slam Cam with a $50,000 fine for telling the truth about a bankrupt and a banned director because apparently it isn’t in the public interest to reveal the truth about his nefarious dealings.

What is also ironic is that the same organisation that initiated this proceeding, the Privacy Commission, also threw out a complaint over Nicky Hager’s breach of privacy of everyone in Dirty Politics. They did this on the basis that a certain High Court judgment by a certain Asher J. found that a certain blogger was in fact media and a journalist which now meant that Nicky Hager could escape sanction.

That’s right, the Privacy Commission who referred Cam to the OHRP for prosecution is the same Privacy Commission who used Cam’s High Court judgment to let Hager off the hook.

It’s a strange topsy turvy world we live in.


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  • Quinton Hogg

    Simon is dancing on the head of a pin!

    • Dave

      One needs to be exceptionally skilled when dancing on the head of a pin, wither the fall could end his case, or if the judge turns the pin over, he will be impalled on his own pin. I hope he looses, however i fear, this is too political and rather this being about the law plain and simple, its going to be about politics and the judiciaries leanings.

  • kaykaybee

    Cam is now very part of legal history in the making SB. It will be interesting to see how this goes down. From what you’re conveying here it would seem that the Privacy Commission seems not only very compromised in it’s hypocrisy, but in my opinion, decidedly politicised.

  • Graeme Edgeler

    Different Privacy Commissioners?
    Or one decision before and one after the High Court ruling?

  • Orange

    Topsy turvy? Sounds like blatant corruption to me.

    • Kevin

      More like Left vs Right.

  • Curly1952

    One half baked lawyer trying to upstage the High Court.. They call Lawyers businesses a “Practice” . Well this guy is practicing to be a short term lawyer. “What ever is expedient to me I will do” is his mantra – What a drop kick

  • this guy is a fool.

    • Spiker

      A very well paid fool, but a fool none the less.

  • Kevin

    So does this mean *all* bloggers are now journalists???

    • Not at all…there is a significant threshold to reach as Asher J. concluded, he also concluded that I more than met the threshold.

      • Dave

        From memory, that included the number of posts you make every day, and the wide ranging topics, whereas most other blogs are less frequent, and don’t have the depth of cover, let alone the quality of real journalism. Good Luck Cam!!

        • Plus also breaking stories.

        • Hard1

          You know that MSM journalists are mainly consumer product advocates.Take Wendyl Nissan’s recent article on chocolate sauce that does not contain any chocolate. The MSM is news that doesn’t contain any news. It’s a report without followup.
          Three months down the track the same report is published as fresh news when it hits the courts.
          If I were to summarize Whaleoil it would be ” News and opinion on the news as presented by others, untainted by vested interests.”
          The MSM have all sorts of machinations going on, totally aimed at getting revenue from the sucker public. Honesty and integrity are a rare commodity. Positive police stories are rare in the MSM , yet they make up most of police actions in real life.
          The MSM is bleat,scoff,whine,envy,materialistic pandering to the so-called have-nots,blames obesity on the government and fails to criticise the sole faulty cog in the wheel of this social machine, which is the useless braindead selfish parent who creates little monsters.
          Until we can intervene into the lives of feral selfish parents and bring them up to speed on the realities of life without welfare, we are doomed to suffer a never ending cycle of robbery and violence with weak sentencing because they’re Polynesian and must be sheltered because they’re thick.
          I challenge any reader to promote one aspect of indigenous Polynesian culture that they would willingly and happily incorporate into their daily lives, Manuka smoking aside.

      • Kevin

        What I meant was if you take Simon Judd’s argument at face value then all bloggers are journalists. Obviously they’re not so Judd’s argument is wrong. The HRC is very left-wing so this kind of double standard (Nicky Hagar and Dirty Politics = good, Whaleoil = bad) doesn’t surprise me.

  • James

    But Cam is a right-wing blogger.

    And the privacy commissioner is someone who has chosen to work as a civil servant; which pretty much automatically means that he is unionised lefty. So therefore it is, in his mind, entirely correct to use anything in his power to support those who attack the evil right-wing – regardless of how contradictory or baseless those weapons are.

  • Rodger T

    It`s the lefty mantra,the ruling sez what we wants it to sez,not whatz it really sez.

  • Tony Norriss

    Hi Cam,

    You obviously are very involved in this, so could clarify my understanding.

    From what I could understand, it seems that the commission’s argument wasn’t so much that you weren’t a journalist, but rather that the information you published didn’t pass the public interest test. In other words, you weren’t acting in the capacity of a journalist at the time of publishing the material in question.

    If that is the case, then, the issue at stake would be whether the information you published actually was in the public interest. If you were able to show that the public was better off by having the information published, then you should win, as far as I can see.

    If my understanding is correct, then it must logically follow that people officially employed as “journalists” could also run foul of the privacy commission if they published private information that didn’t pass the “public interest” test.

    Very interesting. I certainly hope you come out on the right side of this one.

  • Albert Lane

    What is absolutely strange about the legal system in this country is that so often, the identities of people who commit crimes or behave unethically, are protected by privacy and suppression laws. Our legal system is of British origin. But have a look at Brit publications like the Daily Mail, and you’ll find that they don’t seem to have any name suppression laws, and even people who have been charged (but not yet taken to court) with serious offences are named, no matter what their social or financial status is. So what made us deviate from the British system? After all, I would have thought that Britain was far more PC than New Zealand. But it’s obvious that something has gone wrong somewhere. Somebody needs to look very closely at what is going on in New Zealand law in respect to name suppression and privacy. Our current system is wrong, wrong and wrong.

  • Eddie

    “Human rights” are “what we think is right” much of the time. It has nothing to do with the ideals that so many before us sacrificed everything for.
    Thank goodness this news site shines light on the plight of our fight for what is really right!

  • pak

    Good luck with this one. Does my head in just reading it. Can’t imagine what it must be like having to actually deal with it. Bit head banging stuff though when there is clearly some incorrect thinking here on the part of the Director of Human Rights.